On this day, he wanted to be a scientist in a kitchen that was already an explosion of sugar, strawberries, stickiness, and dirty dishes after our jam-making experiments.
He got so angry. Thumping fists, yelling, protesting that I never let him do anything.
After several calm attempts to creatively solve the problem, I finally threatened to chase him outside with a broom if he didn't cool it.
Then I suggested a set of earphones and Rage Against the Machine.
A few air guitar solos, some rock-kicks, and several swear words later, he was back to his old self.
Music is medicine to his parents' souls, so why not to his? Some might question whether or not Rage Against the Machine is "appropriate" fare for a seven-year-old. I say, it did the trick, dispelled his anger, and brought my curious, sweet, reasonable little man back into the kitchen. He knows that grown-ups shouldn't swear, but that we do anyway, and that he's not allowed to.
For now, his natural response to listening to Rage's rage-filled riffs while kicking over a kitchen chair or two (followed by giggling) is enough medicine for this guy.
I never found that time outs, punching a pillow, or deep breaths worked for him anyway.